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The Endemic Plants of Chile – an Annotated Checklist

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Santalum fernandezianum F. Phil.

  1. Classified in >
  2. genus: Santalum >
  3. Family: Santalaceae

Place of Publication

Anal. Mus. Nac. Santiago, Bot. 2: 5 (1892)

Conservation status

  • Extinct

Regions

Archipiélago de Juan Fernández (JF)

Distribution and habitat

In 1624 seafarers reported this tree species a being abundant on the main island of Más a Tierra (Robinson Crusoe Island), however by the early part of the 20th century it had become extinct. Skottsberg (1910) reported that during the mid-1660s ships visiting ships were extracting the wood and taking it to Peru where its strongly aromatic wood, which retains its fragrance for decades, was highly prized for making incense boxes and rosary balls. As with other Santalum species the extracted oil can be made into soaps and creams. In 1782 a list prepared of the useful trees of Chile said of this tree "nowadays there is only very little on the island". Skottsberg pointed out that none of the notable botanical explorers (Bertero, Downton, Cuming, Moseley etc.) who visited Juan Fernández during the 19th century made collections from Santalum fernandezianum and this must indicate that the tree was already extremely scarce during this period. Skottsberg observed the last tree in 1908 in English Harbour - it is thought to have become extinct sometime between 1910 and 1916. Today the only remnants of this species are fragments of wood on the forest floor which still retain their strong fragrance.

References

  • Philippi, F. (1892)

    Philippi, F. 1892. En sándalo de Juan Fernandez. Anales del Museo Nacional Santiago de Chile, Secc. 2: 5-7

  • Johow (1896)

    Johow, F. 1896. Estudios sobre la Flora de las Islas de Juan Fernández. Santiago de Chile: Imprenta Cervantes

  • Skottsberg (1910)

    Skottsberg, C. 1910. Juan Fernandez-oarnas sandelträd. Svensk Botanisk Tidskrift 4: 167-173